AAST is the national membership organization representing sleep technologists. Trained in sleep technology and relevant aspects of sleep medicine, sleep technologists assist in the evaluation and follow-up care of patients with sleep disorders as identified in the current International Classification of Sleep Disorders. Sleep Technology is recognized as a separate and distinct allied health profession. The scope of practice of sleep technologists enables them to work in sleep centers, laboratories for sleep related breathing disorders, Durable Medical Equipment (DME) settings, academic and industry research settings, home environments, and non-facility-based settings under the direction of the sleep specialist.
Credentialed by the American Board of Sleep Medicine, the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists, or the National Board for Respiratory Care, sleep technologists assist sleep specialists in the clinical assessment, physiological monitoring and testing, diagnosis, management, and prevention of sleep related disorders with the use of various diagnostic and therapeutic tools, providing care to patients of all ages. These tools include, but are not limited, to polysomnographs, positive airway pressure devices and accessory equipment, out of center sleep testing (OCST) devices, oximeters, capnographs, actigraphs, nocturnal oxygen, screening devices, and questionnaires.
The profession of sleep technology requires engagement in various educational efforts. Completion of training and competency assessments by an experienced and registered technologist under the supervision of a sleep medicine physician is the minimum requirement for working independently. Completion of an accredited training program and certification is currently recommended. Certification and/or licensing are required in some states. Participation in continuing education each year to advance personal excellence is strongly recommended, along with participation in the education of other sleep technologists, technicians, and trainees. Participation in self-assessment, quality assurance, and quality improvement initiatives of the sleep center assures ongoing competence. Continuing education is required for maintenance of certification, to meet sleep center accreditation requirements, and may also be required for licensing.
Patient Care and Education
The sleep technologist, technician, and trainee are responsible for the care, comfort, and safety of the patient. An understanding of the patient’s sleep and other medical problems, including medications is essential. The technologist interacts with the patient throughout the evaluation to assure patient comfort and safety, and to promote patient understanding of and compliance with all procedures and treatment.
The practice of polysomnography requires interactions with numerous individuals including the patient, members of the patient’s family, the sleep medicine physician, and other technologists and physicians. Proficient verbal and written communication skills are essential.
The sleep technologist may perform other tasks and duties such as managing a sleep center or sleep medicine practice, which includes patient scheduling; material and supply management; supervision of staff, students, or ancillary personnel; training, educating, and professional development; development of policies and procedures; fiscal management and billing; preventative maintenance; and data management. Additional tasks may also include data collection, administrative report generation, maintaining compliance standards, employee review, documentation, and process oversight.